LASIK Risks & Benefits
The FDA, United States Food and Drug Administration, is responsible for evaluating new medical devices and determining if these devices are safe for consumers.
If you would like to more fully be informed of risks, we invite you to come in for a free consultation and ask for a copy of our informed consent. It is long, but it is designed to cover any known possible complications.
LASIK Risks & Contraindications
LASIK eye surgery, as in any other major surgery, has risks. Our surgeons, who are highly experienced LASIK surgeons, can answer your questions about LASIK risks and possible side effects. Every FDA approved laser used in vision correction has various risks and complications associated with them. But all lasers approved for LASIK include the risks of dry eye syndrome, which can be severe; the possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery; visual symptoms including halos, glare, starbursts, and double vision, which can be debilitating; and the loss of vision. LASIK is considered contraindicated in pregnant or nursing women, and in patients with collagen vascular, autoimmune or immune deficiency disease as well as keratoconus or suspected keratoconus. Patients currently taking Accutane or Cordorone are also considered contraindicated for LASIK.
Anytime you have surgery, there are some risks. Fortunately, the risks are low in LASIK and the rewards are high. Nevertheless, there are people who have lost sight due to LASIK surgery. A good estimate of these people is 1 in 10,000. We are proud that many doctors from all over the world send their complications to us to fix. The experience we gain from these complex cases translates to better results for our own patients. You can rest assured when you choose to have LASIK with a surgeon who is chosen time and time again to take care of other surgeons’ complicated cases!
- You will be asked to review and sign an Informed Consent statement before surgery.
Best and Worst Case
When each laser gets approved in the U.S., it has to pass through the FDA. Each laser manufacturer is required to sponsor a study with hundreds of patients, several surgeons, all using the same technique, and follow those patients for years. The FDA closely examines and audits the charts and results before approval. All the lasers are held to the same standard so it really is an “apples to apples” comparison. While “Doctor Smith” may say his results are better than “Doctor Jones,” there really is no proof like a formal FDA study. Take a look at the FDA website for yourself.
What to Expect on the Surgical Day
(Allow approximately 3-4 hours at the center)
Step 1: Arrive on time (ladies – no eye makeup) wearing comfortable clothing that allows you to feel relaxed.
Step 2: Your eyes will be dilated using eye drops and measured for the procedure. You will also receive additional eye drops to numb or anesthetize the eyes. There are no needles or IV’s. After you eyes have been prepared and cleansed for surgery, you will be comfortably laid on the laser bed. The eye to be operated on will be held open using a lid holder called a lid speculum so it is properly exposed for the doctor. The doctor and technicians will work together performing a checklist to ensure that the laser is properly set and that all of the necessary things are in place for your surgery.
Step 3: Next, the surface of your eye will be prepared. The first laser, which creates the corneal tissue flap, uses a stabilizing suction ring. The vision can seem dim during this portion. Then, the corneal flap is gently lifted and the second laser’s eye tracker system is engaged to ensure the smoothest, most accurate shaping possible.
Step 4: More eye drops will be used and you will be sent home for the remainder of the day. It is important for you to rest for the next 24 hours or as directed by your surgeon before resuming your regular daily activities. It is common to return to regular activity in approximately 1 to 2 days.
Step 5: Plan to return on the following day for a postoperative visit. This appointment will be scheduled before you leave the surgery center.
What to Expect After Your Surgery
There is some discomfort that patients may experience after surgery. You may be sensitive to light. You may also have a feeling that there is something in your eyes. Sunglasses usually help make you feel more comfortable. The eye drops that you will be given will alleviate some of this discomfort.
Postoperative eye drops will be used for approximately 7 days. Sometimes as determined by the surgeon, you may need additional drops past that time period.
You will not be allowed to rub your eyes and you will be given eye shields to protect your eyes while you sleep. You will also be asked to avoid getting water, soap, or shampoo in your eyes while showering or bathing.
What Can You Expect Your Early Vision To Be?
Typically patients experience small fluctuations and blurriness in their vision for the first week to a few months as their eyes are healing. This can be very dependent on the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism that was treated. It is common, however, for most patients to see enough to resume their regular activities very quickly. Your surgeon will discuss what is best for you based on your situation.